The rise of John Dillinger from petty criminal (including, unforgiveably, holding up a cinema) via prison and bank robbery with his new convict associates to the accolade of Public Enemy Number One. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Robert Mitchum lobbied for the lead role, but RKO decided that the film didn't suit their new star. See more »
When John Dillinger and his girlfriend sit in the Biograph theatre at the end of the picture, there is a lady in the row behind them, always seen between their heads. First it is one with a fair hat, then another one with black hair and glittering stuff in it, then again the one with the fair hat. See more »
There are tough guys and there are tough guys, but Brooklyn-born Lawrence Tierney was the real deal off and on screen. His casting in the 1945 Dillinger was fortuitous, as the film was the sleeper of the year, and made Tierney briefly an overnight star. He soon became Hollywood's bad boy, getting into scrapes with the law and in general raising hell, which doubtless explains his relatively brief starring career. In Dillinger he is excellent in the lead role, and while he does not much resemble the real Dillinger he is right for the movie. His face and especially eyes, tough and sad at the same time, make him perfect casting whatever his other deficiencies. There is some pretty outdoor photography in the film, which is at times rather arty, but successfully so. The acting is generally quite good, and the mood offbeat and foreboding, and quite different from the typical gangster picture from the thirties. It started a new trend in more realistic, psychological, less city-bound crime pictures with 'dangerous' leading characters, such as the Walsh-Cagney White Heat.
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